If you eat when you're not really hungry and eat way too much, you may be suffering from a compulsion. Here's how to start coping.
Step 1: Stock the kitchen Stock your kitchen with healthy food, especially produce, and eliminate tempting snacks that can start a backslide.
Step 2: Defeat addiction gradually Defeat the addiction by gradually cutting back on unhealthy choices instead of quitting cold turkey. Mix in celery, peppers, and other veggies, reducing sweets. Never eat treats by themselves.
TIP: Clear your palate of any sweet residue with a drink of water after allowing yourself a little bite. Remove the taste from your mouth to circumvent the craving that normally follows.
Step 3: Seek safe places Frequent safe places that hold few temptations, like an alcoholic avoiding bars. Bakeries, fudge shops, and fast food restaurants are out of bounds.
Step 4: Use smaller plates Set meals on smaller plates to eliminate the illusion of too little food. Further manage intake by reducing portion sizes as well.
Step 5: Declare war on sugar Declare war on sugar, looking over ingredient labels before buying anything. Eat protein at each meal, which regulates appetite and satisfies longer. Eat slowly and take in aromas, savoring each bite to be more deliberate and in control.
TIP: Cut down on breads and pasta to further limit your intake of empty carbohydrates.
Step 6: Exercise to change Exercise on a regular basis, not just to lose weight but to change your lifestyle and to commit to feeling and looking better. Having goals encourages better eating behavior.
Step 7: Analyze urges Maintain a food journal to monitor your intake and eating patterns. See a counselor who can help you analyze urges that may be self defeating attempts to cope with emotionally threatening events, people, or memories.
FACT: In a study at Wheeling Jesuit University, people who sniffed mint several times every day ate 2,800 fewer calories each week.